When I was a child, there was a remake of the movie Alice In Wonderland called Alice Through The Looking Glass, which ruined me a bit. I suppose the "ruining" aspect came about only due to the fact there was a monster which appeared when Alice would become afraid of her surrounds.
I remember, vividly, sitting in the living room of our tiny apartment wondering if the Jabberwocky would come straight through the front door! "Don't be afraid Alice, don't be afraaa..." (Music starts, dang it, it's too late, we're all screwed). As with all good movies, the Alice's fears were eventually overcome and the Jabberwocky eventually defeated, only to return again as Smaug; I think only ten people actually saw Alice Through The Looking Glass so no one other than myself would catch the fact Smaug and the Jabberwocky were actually cousins.
Please allow me to digress a bit...
So over the course of the last year or so, I've had the chance to visit too many cities, three countries, share a few laughs, sing a couple songs, and snap a few pictures in the process, however, I haven't truly taken the time to sit back and reflect.
About two weeks or so ago, I was on a flight from Portland, Or to Fresno, Ca and I was seated by an older woman who had a very sweet face and voice to boot; it's not too often I sit in a plane and immediately start speaking with someone but for some reason, maybe the pre-flight snow, we found ourselves quickly involved in conversation about the purpose of our trips. She told me that she was the traveling grandmother/babysitter for her son and his wife this particular weekend and I told her that I was in Portland for the food and company of two of my favorite people in the PNW.
As our chariot began to ascend, I said a quick prayer and attempted to see what the landscape was out the window but all I could see was clouds so I turned my attention to my iPad. Maybe it's just me but I find it so much easier to place a set of headphones into my ears and get lost than I do to carry on conversation at times. Well, it didn't take long for my seat mate to turn to me and begin talking so like the young man I was raised to be, I took my headphones off and tried to use my big boy words too.
I learned that I was sitting next to a teacher of some 27 years at a local high school in Fresno, Ca, she told me about her sons, her sister, her nephew, her husband, dogs, ranch, and truck. We spoke of the climate of education in the United States and we talked a bit about the weather too.
Alas the weather. I've flown my fair share of flights over the last few years, and that's just not into and out of the airport in Fresno but it had been some time since I could remember enjoying conversation and forgetting about what awaited me at home.
From time to time, I found myself looking through the window and seeing nothing but haze/fog and after a while I began to wonder if we'd catch a break, a view. I'm one who always travels with a camera close by these days because I can never tell when a photo opportunity will arise and since I wasn't in the window seat, I was ready to hand my camera over to my new acquaintance the moment I heard, "Oh wow, that's gorgeous..." but those words never came, instead there was a moment when I found myself thinking it's time to do something special.
I began this piece by referencing Alice In Wonderland and the Jabberwocky for a reason. There are times when I feel as if I've fallen through some rabbit hole and I'm searching for a way back home, home being anywhere my emotions/thoughts can safely reside; many a times I face a sense of fear and that sense of fear morphs into an object which I struggle to evade.
The pilot's voice came on over the loudspeaker and he informed us that we were set to land in about 30 minutes or so. My thoughts were asking my seat mate to capture the landscape outside the window, with my camera, but before I could get words out, I saw her seemingly doing a bit of reflecting too. It was as if it were just the two of us in the plane; she sat quietly peering out the window and I sat even quieter watching her reflect. What was she thinking, what was she seeing, where was she taking flight to emotionally?
At the end of the movie, there was a song, a song which got me choked up as a kid for no reason other than it being a feel good moment... "Alice can you hear us, Alice", you see Alice had made it to the other side of the looking glass, she had conquered her fears, she was home.
"Welcome to Fresno, Ca where the local time is 4:27pm and the weather is 72 degrees..."
I was home.